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Russian veto could see withdrawal of 62,000 ton total of Spanish citrus



The Russian embargo has already seen about 46,000 tons of Spanish-grown citrus fruit taken off the market and provision has been made for another 15,775 tons, according to EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan.

He was responding to a written question from Spanish MEP Clara Eugenia Aguilera García (S&D) about EU compensation for farmers affected by the veto.

Aguilera García had asked to what extent, from January 2015 on, the Commission expected the ban to affect the export of citrus fruit during its peak season and whether support measures would be extended or other forms of compensation provided.

“The exceptional measures that were brought in to offset the effects of the Russian embargo on agricultural producers (expired) on 31 December 2014 for fruit and vegetable farmers. However, January marks the start of the high season for citrus fruit and certain vegetables, with exports to Russian peaking in the first few months of the year,” she said.

“The Russian embargo has not just resulted in the loss of an important market for our producers; it has caused the price level in the EU for agricultural produce to drop too.

“Relations between the EU and Russia remain difficult, and farmers in the EU — especially those in Andalusia (Spain), where a significant proportion of the winter crop is produced — continue to suffer the consequences of this geopolitical conflict,” she said.

New envelopes for Spain: 26,650 tons vegetables & 15,775 tons citrus fruit

Hogan said the initial compensation provided – under Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 1031/2014 ( 1 ) – covered citrus.

“The quantities allocated for citrus fruit were calculated on the basis of exports to Russia during the period from August to March in order to prepare for the peak in exports during the first months of the year. Interim data on the use of the measure for citrus in Spain until 31 December 2014 show that around 46,000 tons have been withdrawn from the market.

“An extension of the abovementioned Regulation to counter pressure on prices for some products and regions was adopted on 19 December 2014. It applies until 30 June 2015.

“New envelopes for the same group of products have been calculated taking into account exports to Russia during the period concerned. The quantities allocated to Spain for the group of vegetables including tomatoes, carrots, sweet peppers, cucumbers and gherkins amount to 26,650 tons; for citrus fruit the allocated quantity is 15,775 tons including lemon,” he said.




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Spanish hopeful of Chinese market entry deals soon on stone fruit, grapes


Spain is optimistic its fresh plum, peaches and nectarines will soon be imported by China.

And it is also happy with progress on a protocol which would see the Asian giant also open its doors to fresh Spanish table grapes. Spanish Secretary of State for Trade Jaime García-Legaz said recently he hoped to have positive news by the end of the year.

Final report due on Spanish plums, peaches, nectarines

A spokesman from the Spanish Ministry of Economy told EFD the Chinese phytosanitary requirements for plums, peaches and nectarines have now been “practically cemented” by AQSIQ (China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine).


In August, Chinese inspectors visited areas of plum, peach and nectarine production in Spain to verify the controls in place and their resulting assessment was regarded as “positive”, he said. After this visit, the Chinese phytosanitary requirements had been largely specified, “and it’s hoped that soon, perhaps before the end of this year, they will issue their final report and with that proceed to open the Chinese market for these products,” he said.

AQSIQ visits expected soon for Spanish table grapes

On grapes, he said Spain is waiting for China to complete its pest risk analysis, as part of which the phytosanitary requirements for this product will be determined. A visit by Chinese inspectors to Spanish production areas will follow.


No date has yet been set for these visits, but García-Legaz said he is optimistic about having “good news” in coming weeks about the scheduling of the visits and anticipates they will take place as early as possible in 2015.


In 2013, China imported table grapes worth US $514 million. Spain already has a citrus protocol with China – signed in 2005 after six years of negotiation – and believes its early stone fruit season will give it an edge there.


Learn more about the Chinese market in our recent report How fruit fared in China in 2013”


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SA2PE readies to launch “farm direct” stores

SPAIN fruiters SA2P remplacer (2)

Catalan group SA2PE, focused on fruit and vegetable distribution, plans to add a sixth brand to its stable this year with a new business model centred on farmer-direct produce.

With competition fierce in its traditional line of greengrocers, SA2PE aims to innovate and differentiate with the new line of bigger stores, which in addition to the basic fruit and vegetables will offer dairy products, pre-cooked food, wine from the barrel, and other items. “Like Spain’s colmados (grocery stores) of days gone by.”
CEO Salvador Rodrigo said the new brand – the name of which will not be announced until late April – will complement the group’s chain of Fruit SA2PE fruit and vegetable stores, which spans 85 franchised and 53 group-owned stores around Spain and is expected to enjoy sales growth of ten percent this year. Sales in the Fresh Quality business line, a SA2PE brand focused on the food service (Horeca) segment, are forecast to rise 10-15 percent. SA2PE has been honing its new business model with trials in two stores and will open a third, in the Barcelona suburb of Gracia, in about two months. It handles about 300 different product types each day at its logistics platform at Mercabarna but the Fruit SA2PE stores each offer about an average of 100 varieties, with about a 60-40 split between vegetables and fruit. While they have an average floorspace of 80-120m squared, those in the new line will have a minimum of 120m squared. Apart from drawing on its existing network of suppliers at Mercabarna, SA2PE is working on establishing new suppliers, particularly from Andalusia, for the coming chain centred more on local produce direct from the source.

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Arkadia: year-round horticultural supply


Arkadia Food International is known for being a company that strives to offer fresh produce throughout the year, mainly in the European Union, although in recent years they have expanded their destinations to other countries. A good product, quality, food safety and good prices are the 4 pillars of this company from Murcia with its own produce.  
Citrus, lettuces, celery and tomatoes are Arkadia’s most significant categories. In summer, it widens its portfolio with stonefruit, melons, watermelons and grapes. They select the best farmers in Murcia, Cartagena and Águilas in addition to the produce from their own group (Natural Salads & Verco) with 4,000 hectares of arable land. Thus, with direct control over production, Arkadia guarantees quality for its customers and the end consumer. Their most noteworthy certifications include GlobalGAP, BRC, IFS, F2F and Tesco.
Last season, Arkadia saw sales worth € 50 million, and for 2014 they are forecast to reach € 70 million, which demonstrates the good prospects for this Murcian company. Arkadia works year after year to exceed its clients’ expectations and needs. To do so, their main objective is to provide a year-round supply. This is why they have a sales network and logistics to ensure that the produce from Murcia’s countryside arrives at its destinations as soon as possible and in the right conditions. Arkadia mainly exports to European Union countries, but has also opened up trade in Russia.
Founded in 2008, Arkadia Food International is part of the ABM Group, with over 25 years of leadership and experience in the European fruit and vegetable industry.

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Hortyfruta and Proexport “We Care, You Enjoy”

TOM spain HORTYFRUTA Francisco Gongora 01

Gearing up for the second year of their ‘We Care, You Enjoy’ campaign, Francisco Góngora, chairman of the Andalusian interprofessional organisation Hortyfruta, which together with Proexport is funding the second year of the campaign, commented: “We will be applying the same guidelines as last year, since we achieved our objectives. So for the moment, in view of the good results we are getting, we are continuing with the same action plan”. Góngora also confirmed a number of actions that are being implemented during this campaign, such as promotions in major supermarkets, signage on trolleys, promotion in health centres and radio and TV advertising. The campaign is a big item in Hortyfruta’s marketing plan and will give European consumers a better knowledge of fruit and vegetables from Almeria.
More European interprofessional collaboration
Together with this initiative, the inter-branch organisation for fruit and vegetables from the Andalusian province of Almeria is also pursuing other goals such as keeping in contact with similar organisations in order to achieve closer relations, both within Spain and in Europe, with the aim of working together and achieving real, effective interconnection, Góngora explained. “We are also going to develop or achieve closer ties with other organisations such as retailers, consumer associations, environmental associations and vegetarian and vegan organisations to find out exactly what their concerns and interests are, give them a clear idea of the work we do in protected crops, communicate the advances that have been made in agricultural practices and show them the benefits of our fruit and vegetables”, explained the Hortyfruta chairman, who added: “So we want to arrange visits to Andalusia with these organisations, as well as carrying out joint projects to tackle the problems we are all concerned about”.
Another important task that Hortyfruta will continue to undertake in 2014 is collecting data for the Census of Producers, a register that will include all the farmers and will be a useful tool for planning future strategic action.
Rural hygiene, now and in the future
Speaking of the challenges of rural hygiene and of raising the standards for products such as melons and watermelons, Francico Góngora pointed out that “Hygiene is indispensable for the quality and competitiveness of the sector. It means adapting the natural environment to achieve the best conditions for cultivation and production. For this reason, it is one of Hortyfruta’s objectives. Progress has been made but we are always working on it, developing proposals for the relevant authorities and obtaining their support for putting the proposals into practice. In 2014 we will also carry out a study to collect and organise all the information we need to analyse the initial situation concerning rural hygiene”.
Francisco Góngora proffered constructive criticism of the organisation he chairs, stating that it has unfinished business in “uniting us all and giving us the strength to address the needs of the sector. We are missing two farming organisations, but we are trying to talk to them and get them to join our great project, Hortyfruta”.
Góngora wants to remind all the farmers that “farmers are the basis of the interprofessional organisation. We have been representing the sector ever since the greenhouse production process began. That is why, when we had this catastrophic storm, we issued a press release in support of those who had been affected and, naturally, had a meeting with the regional agricultural Minister to request compensation for the farmers who had been hit, and she told us what action the Andalusian regional government was planning to take”.
Finally, the HortyFruta chairman emphasised that the Almería fruit and vegetable interprofessional organisation’s job is to “defend the interests of the sector and be the voice that carries our requests and demands to the authorities”.